‘Satellite auctions, some of which took farmers’ money with them to the grave.’
A Farmers Guardian contribution from Derek Burrough, a Devon farmer, shows that Paul Temple, former NFU vice-president who farms in Driffield, Yorkshire, is continuing to assert that traditional livestock markets are irrelevant and suggest that stock should be sold on a lookalike ebay system. Mr Burrough reminded readers that these markets have ‘seen off flimsy competition from satellite auctions, some of which took farmers’ money with them to the grave.’
In an article in the Yorkshire based Gazette and Herald, James Stephenson points out that the auction system is the only one which is trying to improve the price obtained for farmers, adding:
“One only has to look at the market in milk, which cannot take advantage of an spot auction system and which has almost been brought to its knees by the bullying power of the processors and supermarkets.”
Brian Swift raises grass fed beef cattle at Hazel Farm in Bickenhill, Warwickshire and would stoutly contest his views.
He nominated Rugby Market for Fair Deal Award for providing a good service to farmers in the region. The awards were introduced to give producers and farmers the opportunity to highlight who gives them a fair deal for their produce.Brian has been selling his beef cattle to Rugby market for many years and believes he gets a good return by doing so.
However, many cattle markets across the nation have closed. Brian Swift said, “There are hardly any markets left in the area and going further afield to get a better price is no use because of high transport prices. Things are going to get harder. Farming doesn’t pay nowadays, and even after diversifying it is difficult”.
After 130 years, Rugby market moved to Stoneleigh Park and is now run by Rugby Farmers Mart LLP – a co-operative of 250 farmers. Chairman Richard Heckford said: “Cattle markets are important to livestock farmers as they can achieve a better price in a more transparent way. There is direct contact between the seller and buyers, so the markets respond very quickly to trade pressures . . . Now is the time for farmers to support their new local market in order to reduce fuel and labour costs.”
Livestock markets offer an open and fair trading system – no ‘pitiful returns’
Derek Burrough points out that livestock markets offer prompt payment and an open and fair trading system: if you are unhappy you can bring your stock home. Dominic Naylor, writing in the Farmers Guardian, said that Mr Temple’s proposals would lead to pitiful returns being paid to any but the very largest of farmers:
“The livestock market remains one of the few institutions where farmers are treated fairly and (processors and supermarket bosses in London) have to deal on our terms.”